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No carbonation at all after over two weeks

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nreed

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Hi,

I bottled pale ale over two weeks ago now maybe three weeks ago and I've opened a couple of these and they have next to no carbonation. They have a little hiss when popping the cap but thats about it. I've made around 8 batches so far and all have been nicely carbed after two weeks, I batch prime with table sugar aiming for a higher carb of 2.7 to please the wife's need for highly carbed beers. I always leave at room temp, I even utilised my ferm chamber on this batch for a week while it was free to keep at 20c.

It's the same yeast I've used for all my batches, US-05, the only thing to note about the brewday is I missed my OG by 8 points - coming in at 1.040 (est 1.048), fermented down to 1.007 so made up a little alcohol with a high attenuation - so ending up just over 4%.

Although it's flat the beer tastes great, probably the cleanest I've made so far. Do I just keep it sitting for a few weeks and hope for the best or at this point is there very little chance of carbonation as I should just drink it.
 

Kee

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If there were much priming sugar left to ferment, the beer would have a sweet taste. So while waiting another couple of weeks may give you further carbonation, it will be marginal at best. BTW, I find 2.7 volumes to be on the low side (personal preference), but obviously there are additional precautions to take if you want to highly carbonate bottle conditioned beer (sturdy bottles, careful measuring, etc.).
 

dbsmith

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hmm after two weeks, carbonation should be closer to done than not started. Does it taste like your beer is a bit sugary sweet (as in, the priming sugar was not eaten by the yeast)?

Possibilities I can think of:
- You forgot to add the sugar this time
- Your chamber is in a cold environment and is not staying at 20C

You don't need to worry about carbing temp like you do fermentation temperature assuming you are around room temperature. Perhaps you should just put them in your house (assuming you pay for heat :) ). I'd give them a week and see if the carb improves. If not, something went really wrong.
 

Transamguy77

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I would just let it sit some more, I had a couple of beers that took 4-6 weeks to carb up, we can’t make the yeast do their thing all we can do is be patient until they do.
 

bu_gee

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I used to have this problem as well as unevenly carbonated beer all the time. Eventually we figured out that the high density of the sugar syrup we added wouldn't mix with the relatively cool beer and would sink right down to the bottom.

This led to virtually uncarbonated beers and sometimes we also had overcarbonated ones. Once we even had a bottle bomb, which was what triggered the thought: We were swirling the beer which meant that the bottom, let's say, 1/3 of the bottling bucket was getting all the sugar and creating bottle bombs while the top half would generate hardly any carbonation. It took us a long time to figure out because I was sharing half the beer with my brother and, just because of the way we bottled, he was getting one of the halves and I was getting the other, and we weren't sharing notes after trying the first beer together.

So, as nerve wracking as it is, we now thoroughly mix the sugar with the beer before bottling. Total n00b mistake.
 
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nreed

nreed

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Eventually we figured out that the high density of the sugar syrup we added wouldn't mix with the relatively cool beer and would sink right down to the bottom.
This could be it, I mix the sugar in a relatively small amount of boiling water before letting it cool. I add it to the bottling bucket first before adding the beer.

How have you improved the mix? By actually stirring? I’d be worried about oxygen if this is the case. I could maybe measure out individual amounts and add them to the bottles before the beer?!
 
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nreed

nreed

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Possibilities I can think of:
- You forgot to add the sugar this time
Yeah this has crossed my mind, I’ve opened 3 now and all same. In between the week in the chamber they have been in a warm house so it’s been ideal temps to them to get to work.
 

bu_gee

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This could be it, I mix the sugar in a relatively small amount of boiling water before letting it cool. I add it to the bottling bucket first before adding the beer.

How have you improved the mix? By actually stirring? I’d be worried about oxygen if this is the case. I could maybe measure out individual amounts and add them to the bottles before the beer?!
Yeah. We stir. Our latest method is a little complicated, but generally we try to go with relatively warm sugar in the bottom of the bottling bucket (Maybe 120-130F) and we add about a gallon of the beer on top while stirring the whole time with a large, sanitized, stainless-steel spoon as gently as possible. Then we give it a very light stir at about half and again at full. This is made somewhat easier by there being two of us. I'm sure you could siphon off a gallon, give it a stir, and proceed with the rest.

And you're right, stirring in oxygen, off-gassing dissolved CO2, and potentially contaminating the batch with your arm, hands, spoon, nose, etc. is what makes it nerve-wracking. Just take your time and be as gentle as you can with it. Eventually, I want to get a stir plate and just have it gently mix everything from the bottom. As long as you don't form a vortex, it probably won't mix in any oxygen.

I feel like measuring out the sugar for each bottle will both be tedious and multiply the problem by 60 because you'll still have to figure out how to mix that sugar into the beer. There used to be the "sugar cube method" that many people used to subscribe to where you'd put a sugar cube in each bottle. I don't know if anybody recommends that anymore, but I feel that is a simpler solution to the problem.

But as a test, you could just pop open a bottle, pour in about 2-3 grams of sugar, recap it and give it a week or two and see if that works for you.
 

brewdude88

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I could maybe measure out individual amounts and add them to the bottles before the beer?!

I have done this and it worked great, although it was more math than I usually care to do.

I just made a sugar solution with a known amount of sugar (I forget but it was the max sugar that could be dissolved in water 2gram/ml?) I then used a syringe to precisely shoot my desired amount into each bottle.

I did this because I only wanted to bottle condition 6 bottles, but I'm keeping it in my arsenal if I do wish to bottle condition a full batch in the future.
 

Leezer

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There used to be the "sugar cube method" that many people used to subscribe to where you'd put a sugar cube in each bottle. I don't know if anybody recommends that anymore, but I feel that is a simpler solution to the problem.
I used to use the sugar cubes but found they don’t make the 1/2 tsp size anymore. So now I just put a half teaspoon of table sugar in each bottle. I only do one or two gallon batches so it’s not too tedious or time consuming. Works out well.
 
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nreed

nreed

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I used to use the sugar cubes but found they don’t make the 1/2 tsp size anymore. So now I just put a half teaspoon of table sugar in each bottle. I only do one or two gallon batches so it’s not too tedious or time consuming. Works out well.
I think I'll give this a go next time as I only do small batches of 18-24 330ml bottles . I just used the brewersfriend priming calculator and looks like 2.5g of sugar in 330ml for 2.8 volumes of CO2. This shouldn't add too much time to the process and should be far more precise that guessing the amount out the fermenter and batch priming.
 

Beermeister32

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Also depends on where your bottles are conditioning. Winter being colder than summer, if there is a 10F degree difference between conditioning temperatures, it will take longer. My conditioning area is a bit cooler, I'm at 4 weeks currently.
 

Camelot Legends

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As long as there were no issues with the fermentation, warm temperatures and shake the bottles daily to keep the yeast in suspension should do the trick.
 
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nreed

nreed

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Cheers all, I’ve moved them into the warmest room in the house and will try one in a week or so. If no improvement they’re getting drunk regardless
 

Birrofilo

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I'd hold off shaking bottles. You want the yeast to use up the oxygen in the headspace, but don't want to oxidize the beer in the process.
I second that. One has three methods to avoid problems:

a) Make a thinner syrup, and mix it gently in the bucket; if you stop bottling for several minutes (a phonecall) mix again the beer before resuming the bottling process;

b) Use dextrose instead of sucrose for making the syrup. Dextrose mixes with water and with beer much more easily than dextrose;

c) Use the poultry-vaccine-gun method, something like this:

You prepare the syrup with the help of a spreadsheet (I can point to some spreadsheet but it's in Italian);
You then inject the right amount of syrup in each bottle as you would with a syringe (the gun is much faster but that's the idea) before putting the beer in it. While you fill the bottle with the beer, the syrup will mix with the beer.
 
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